Gov't to discus tax reform in April

The Russian government is going to return to the discussion of a tax reform this April, one of the participants of today's government meeting on Finance Ministry's suggestions on tax reforms reported to RBC. According to the source, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov did not consider them as a tax reform and called the materials, prepared for the meeting by the Finance Ministry, "a number of measures, some of which are good". In his turn, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin stated that by April 2003, the Ministry would again present its estimates and suggestions, RBC's source added. At the same time, Kudrin said that his Ministry was ready to discuss the possibility of reducing the single social and the value-added taxes, but for this, the state would have to cut a number of budget expenditures.

According to the source, Kasyanov said that if the Finance Ministry was ready to introduce corresponding materials on reducing the tax burden in 2004, it should be done as soon as possible. If these documents are ready this April, the State Duma will still have almost no time to discuss them, the Prime Minister pointed out.

RBC's interviewee also reported that at the government meeting, Russian Presidential Economic Advisor Andrey Illarionov stated a real increase in the tax burden over the past three years. According to IMF estimates, Russia is fourth among the 94 countries with a high tax burden, he said. At the same time, the official pointed to the fact that it would be wrong to shift the fiscal burden from one category of taxpayer to another. The Presidential Advisor believes that this could trigger a misbalance in the economy.